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Retro-Development in Idyllwild


Original Post
Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,455

I've been climbing alot in Idy and been getting into the forgotten routes often. I've come across quite a few routes that A. Need bolt replacement and B. Could use what I call "retro-development". 

What the hell is "retro-development", you ask? It's the reimagining of a route done long ago and since forgotten. Meaning, with a few extra bolts placed, on lead and from a stance of course, and a little re-routing of the line, some "new" gems could emerge. There's quite few but I think my best example is The Passover.

Frankly, I probably won't get around to this in the near future but if any dirty bags have got some gumption, I've got the info.

Objections? Encouragement? Banter?

· · Unknown Hometown · Joined unknown · Points: 0

I have some spare HILTI batteries if you need them. 

Jon Clark · · Philadelphia, PA · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 665

If you come across climbs that are in need of bolt replacement, are motivated to rebolt them, and have the experience to do so, that's great.  However, you previously brought this so-called concept of "retro-development" up a year or so ago with regard to Torque Wrench.  I really think it's a non-starter.   Existing routes should be left alone aside from one for one bolt and anchor replacement.  Not everything needs to be "improved."  

Russ Walling · · www.FishProducts.com · Joined Oct 2004 · Points: 3,276

Upgrade yes, retro No

Mike Womack · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 1,673

I'm all for keeping routes clean and pure, but I do hear you when you say that there are potential gems out there that are dirty, X-rated, and without a second ascent.  If they became clean and say PG-13 rated instead, then that's not so bad actually. 

Jon Clark · · Philadelphia, PA · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 665

"Dirty, X-rated, unrepeated routes" at Tahquitz or Suicide are in very short supply if they exist at all.  One person's PG13 is another's X.  Leave it alone already.  

johannsolo · · So Cal, now in Sandy, UT · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 780

Routes done 30-40 years ago do not need any added bolts.   Climbers need to slowly work thru the grades.

Kemper Brightman · · Tucson · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 2,071

I'm not sure if you've heard of it, but there's a route called "el camino real" that's really scary and poorly bolted. My quick-draws rarely stay in when I place them in the crack. Placing trad pro is impossible since its a lay-back and you can't see since you're lay-backing.  Also, the tree on finger trip is at least 100 years old and needs to be replaced. If you could add a couple more tree belays on that route while you're at it I think the climbing community would really appreciate it. I'm not going to be able to get to it this season, but I'd really like to make sure the baloney slicer on the vampire stays intact for generations to come. Just adding a bolt through the flake and some glue every four feet should do it. 


If anyone has bolts or a drill or a trad rack or a car it would be greatly appreciated. 

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,455
Jon Clark wrote:

If you come across climbs that are in need of bolt replacement, are motivated to rebolt them, and have the experience to do so, that's great.  However, you previously brought this so-called concept of "retro-development" up a year or so ago with regard to Torque Wrench.  I really think it's a non-starter.   Existing routes should be left alone aside from one for one bolt and anchor replacement.  Not everything needs to be "improved."  

What's the problem with the improvement if it's done in within the local style and ethic?

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,455
Mike Womack wrote:

I'm all for keeping routes clean and pure, but I do hear you when you say that there are potential gems out there that are dirty, X-rated, and without a second ascent.  If they became clean and say PG-13 rated instead, then that's not so bad actually. 

To clarify these routes aren't really "dirty, x-rated". It's more like these were good routes where happenstance created a lack of pro. Maybe on the FA they would have put a bolt in but they didn't want to burn one up in that particular spot, or maybe some holds broke and it now climbs differently, or on the FA they simply zigged when it's obvious they should have zagged.

I understand being beholden to the classic ethic but why be beholden to a happenstance?

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Tradiban wrote:

To clarify these routes aren't really "dirty, x-rated". It's more like these were good routes where happenstance created a lack of pro. Maybe on the FA they would have put a bolt in but they didn't want to burn one up in that particular spot, or maybe some holds broke and it now climbs differently, or on the FA they simply zigged when it's obvious they should have zagged.

I understand being beholden to the classic ethic but why be beholden to a happenstance?

I thought the general rule was to get permission from the first ascentionist to add bolts to a climb? What's wrong with that?

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,455
FrankPS wrote:

I thought the general rule was to get permission from the first ascentionist to add bolts to a climb? What's wrong with that?

They aren't reachable or dead and even if they were would they have a clear memory of a forgotten route and details from 30 years ago?

In other words the statue of limitations has run out, no pun intended.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Tradiban wrote:

They aren't reachable or dead and even if they were would they have a clear memory of a forgotten route and details from 30 years ago?

In other words the statue of limitations has run out, no pun intended.

Do you have a few specific routes in mind you could identify? In addition to the Passover?

Greg Opland · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2001 · Points: 172

Replacing bad bolts is a service. 

What you're talking about, no.

Eli . · · GMC3500 · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 3,114

For all the spraying you do on here about your ethics, it is hilarious that you're trying to justify retro-ing routes.

Gordy Schafer · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 35

Get FA's permission, if it is really worth the effort...

For the most part, are they really that rad?

Isn't the only thing exciting about them that they tend to be a bit run out?

Aren't there enough safe routes through the grades that are generally the same in character as the run out ones?

Lots of people enjoy climbing routes for the history associated with them.

Lots of places out there to put up your own routes.

Roy Suggett · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 7,505

I believe it to be insensitive to the FA as well as un-reflective of the history associated with the climb to do any  "retro-development".  Some folks really enjoy those non crowded bold lines.  Rebolting (if needed) with new Ti or SS 1/2 inch...well now, that is another thing. There is so much rock out there for you to develop that has no history, why not work there?

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,455
Eli wrote:

For all the spraying you do on here about your ethics, it is hilarious that you're trying to justify retro-ing routes.

The ethic is ground up bolting, I'm not suggesting to change that. I'm talking about improving the area.

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,455
FrankPS wrote:

Do you have a few specific routes in mind you could identify? In addition to the Passover?

Yes, off the top of my head, P2 of Wild Gonzagas and P2 of Gates of Delirium.

I will post more.

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,535
Tradiban wrote:

To clarify these routes aren't really "dirty, x-rated". It's more like these were good routes where happenstance created a lack of pro. Maybe on the FA they would have put a bolt in but they didn't want to burn one up in that particular spot, or maybe some holds broke and it now climbs differently, or on the FA they simply zigged when it's obvious they should have zagged.

I understand being beholden to the classic ethic but why be beholden to a happenstance?

Are you talking about developing variations to existing climbs? That seems okay to me.

 If you're talking about adding bolts to the line itself- negatory, ghost rider. That's a no go without specific permission from the FA. If, as you say, they're dead or no longer reachable, then the route has existed long enough that any added bolts would be unwanted by those many parties who have climbed it in its existing condition. 

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,455
GoBoy wrote:

Get FA's permission, if it is really worth the effort...

As I noted above, this might be impossible and just because someone was born earlier doesn't make their claim to the rock forever.


For the most part, are they really that rad?

Yep, they could be good pitches.


Isn't the only thing exciting about them that they tend to be a bit run out?

Nope, good moves on them and I love a little spice as much as anyone but there's a limit to that.


Aren't there enough safe routes through the grades that are generally the same in character as the run out ones?

Other routes yes, but no two routes are exactly the same and I enjoying climbing new things.


Lots of people enjoy climbing routes for the history associated with them.

Good for them but I'm positive most people would appreciate better pro that fits within the FA ethic.


Lots of places out there to put up your own routes.

It's not about putting up my own routes, I don't really care about that, I want to resurrect old forgotten routes, that are actually pretty good. Also most rock in Idy has been climbed in some form or fashion.


Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Southern California
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